Chocolate mousse is probably the first ‘real’ dessert I ever made. A friend in France taught me to make it when I was a student and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. Especially since it really is the simplest recipe in the world and thus very worthy of a place on CSG.
I made it on Sunday for a birthday dinner and, after the worst sort of Monday (grey, miserable and humid; a tube strike and a ton of washing-up to do), I was delighted to open my fridge to see a ramekin of leftover mousse waiting for me. It’s the ultimate cheer-you-up food, on any day of the week.
Don’t believe any of those other recipes, the ones full of cream, brandy and gelatine. All you need is eggs and chocolate (and not even expensive chocolate) and, if you really want to gild the lily, some finely grated orange zest. Oh and a whisk, hand blender or food processor.
You will need:
For every 100g of dark chocolate (I used Bournville and, as I’ve said before, it melts much better than most fancy-schmancy chocolate) you need three eggs. This makes about 3-4 portions.
1. Melt the chocolate. I do this in an improvised bain-marie: I use two bowls, one bowl bigger than the other, or a bowl and a small saucepan. I half-fill the smaller bowl with hot water, put the chocolate in the larger bowl and balance it on top of the smaller one. If you are using orange zest, put it in the bowl with the chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted put it on one side to cool slightly. It should not be in any way hot by the time you get to stage three.
2. Separate the eggs and, when the chocolate is cool enough for you to put your finger in it without screaming, whisk the egg whites until peaky.
3. Add the egg yolks to the melted chocolate and stir to mix them in properly.
4. Slowly fold the thick chocolate-yolk mixture into the egg whites, trying not to completely collapse the peaks.
5. Once completely amalgamated put the mousse into small ramekins or sundae glasses and chill until required. Make sure you cover it with cling film because any strong flavours in the fridge or wherever you’ve put the mousse to chill will taint it. I have sometimes been known to shove mousse-filled ramekins into the ice box to hurry up this process, and to get the dessert out of the way when guests arrive and it works, as long as you don’t forget it’s there and end up with choc ices instead.